Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Things to Do + Good Eats: shopping + Zinc Café (CLOSED), Solana Beach, California


Cedros Design District  100-300 blocks of Cedros Ave., 14 miles from La Jolla, Lomas Santa Fe Drive exit off I-5, (858) 755-0444.


Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, California
Home to many architects, builders, designers, and interior decorators, these three strollable blocks more than 85 unique boutiques and galleries.



jewelery at Antique Warehouse in Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, California
Antique Warehouse
Antiques on Cedros  118 S. Cedros Ave., (858)704-4900.  This collective has more than 50 dealers.  A specialty is fine estate jewelry.

Antique Warehouse  212 S. Cedros Ave., (858) 755-5156.  W-M 10-5.  There is space for 101 dealers to display their finds in this uncluttered, multi-dealer antique warehouse.  The cleanly curated selection of antiques, collectibles, and memorabilia includes an excellent selection of gemstone rings, record albums, china, and more. 

Chic Weed  240 S. Cedros Ave., (858) 205-8083.  This mostly outdoor garden shop is a pleasant browse.

Cut Loose  142 S. Cedros Ave. #K, (858) 509-0386.  14 M-Sat 10-5:30, Sun 11-5.  Made in San Francisco, this brand is designed for larger women.  It uses fabulous colors and fabrics, especially linen. 


Leaping Lotus in Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, California
Leaping Lotus  240 S. Cedros Ave., (858) 720-8283.  M-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-6.  More than 100 vendors display a stunning variety of goods in a gigantic two-floor warehouse space.  Items include clothing, house and garden goods, and unusual gifts. 


SoLo shop in Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, California
SoLo  309 S. Cedros Ave., (858) 794-9016.  This upscale collective displays  creative and stylish collections of gifts and home accessories from eight different vendors in a dramatic restored warehouse.


egg salad sandwich and chili at Zinc Cafe in Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, California


sparrows at Zinc Cafe in Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, California
CLOSEDZinc Café  132 S. Cedros Ave., (858) 793-5436.  My favorite lunch here is a half egg-salad sandwich with a bowl of chili and a lemon-frosted pecan cookieMore description.

Zinc Cafe on Urbanspoon

More things to do in Solana Beach. 

Things to do in nearby La Jolla.

Things to do in nearby San Diego.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, December 29, 2014

Things to Do + Good Eats: shopping + Warwick's + Girard Gourmet, La Jolla, California


Shopping along Girard Avenue and Prospect Street  Prospect Street is known as “The Rodeo Drive of San Diego,” but wide, boulevard-like Girard, Fay, and Pearl streets aren’t too shabby either.  High-end boutiques have set up shop on these tony main drags, but amidst them you’ll find unique local boutiques and galleries as well.



book section at Warwick's in La Jolla, California
Warwick's  7812 Girard Ave., (858) 454-0347.  M-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10 am-5:30 pm.  Free parking behind store.  One of San Diego's oldest stationers, this local institution offers a great selection of paper goods.  Also a bookstore, you’ll find everything from the latest novels to novel gift boxes disguised as novels to hide things in.  This is also a popular stop for top-name author appearances.  And should you have questions, the knowledgeable staff is happy to help and will even gift wrap your purchase for free.


shape cookies at Girard Gourmet in La Jolla, California
Girard Gourmet  7837 Girard Ave., (858) 454-3325.  B-L-D daily; $.  This popular European-style bakery-deli always has a line out the door, but the delicious sandwiches made with crispy-crusted Italian bread and salads are worth the wait.  Squirmy kids start salivating and become more willing to wait when promised their choice of one of the decorated shape cookies in the window display--a whale frosted in blue, a seal topped with chocolate icing, or maybe a panda bear in black and white.  Yum.  Best scenario:  Select a picnic’s worth of goodies to go. 

Girard Gourmet on Urbanspoon

More things to do in La Jolla.

Things to do in nearby San Diego.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sights to See: Reykjavik Art Museum; Reykjavik, Iceland


Reykjavik Art Museum  Ticket valid at all three museums on the same day.  Under 18 free.  Guided tours in English available June-August.  This museum is housed in three buildings situated across the city.  In addition to displaying distinguished Icelandic art and international art, the museum promotes local emerging artists.  Combined, the three museums own more than 70,000 pieces. 

Hafnarhus  Tryggvagata 17, downtown by the harbor.  Daily 10-5, Thurs to 8.  Located in a refurbished 1930s fish warehouse, this is the largest of the branches.


Erro exhibit at Hafnarhus branch of Reykjavik Art Museum in Iceland
It houses a permanent collection of Erro, one of Europe’s most notable pop artists.  Temporary shows are progressive and experimental.  A stylish cafe is popular for lunch and refreshment.



“Reactive Wall” (2009) is a temporary show by artist Mojoko (a pseudonym of Steve Lawler) and software programmer Shan-Liang that shows bright graphics that are seen on a black wall reacting to sound made through a microphone. 

Kjarvalsstadir  Flokagata 24.  Daily 10-5.  This branch is in a Nordic-modern building with floor-to-ceiling windows that looks out to Klambratun Park.  It is named for influential Iceland painter Johannes S. Kjarval and houses a comprehensive collection of his works.  Exhibitions focus on paintings and sculptures of established masters of modern art. 

Asmundarsafn  Sigtun 105.  Daily; hrs. vary.  Sculpture garden is admission-free.

interior of Asmundarsafn sculpture gallery in Reykjavik, Iceland


sculpture garden at Asmundarsafn sculpture gallery in Reykjavik, Iceland
This sculpture museum is in the former home and workshop of sculptor Asmundur Sveinsson, who designed and constructed most of the building himself.  An upstairs dome room gallery doubles as a whispering chamber.  Sveinsson’s works are displayed both inside and out. 

More things to do in Iceland.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images and video ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Good Eats: Bæjarins Bestu Pylsur; Reykjavik, Iceland


Bæjarins Bestu Pylsur  Tryggvagotu 1, +354 511 1566.  Located off a big parking lot behind the old town, this food cart reputedly serves up the town’s best hot dog and has been doing that since 1937.  Icelanders love their hot dogs, which are made mostly from free-range, grass-fed, organic, hormone-free Icelandic lamb.  Ask for one with everything--“ein með öllu”—and you’ll get ketchup, sweet brown mustard (“pylsusinnep”), remoulade sauce (a mix of mayo, capers, mustard, and herbs), raw onions, and crispy fried onions.  Pointing at the condiments you also works.


Bæjarins Bestu Pylsur food cart serves up hot dogs in Reykjavik, Iceland
Seventy percent of the country’s 300,000-plus residents have eaten here, as have Bill Clinton (in 2004, he ordered a dog with just mustard) and Metallica band members.  The day I was here, two children were eating naked dogs.  A hot dog (“pylsur”) costs 350 to 380 ISK (around $3).  They're also sold at gas stations, convenience stores, and the airport—where I finally got mine.

More things to do in Iceland.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Monday, December 15, 2014

Things to Do: shopping; Reykjavik, Iceland


Laugavegur is the longest shopping street in Reykjavik with the most shops.  It eventually becomes Bankastraeti.


Skolavordustigur with view of Hallgrimskirkja church, Reykjavik, Iceland
Skolavordustigur is an attractive street at the junction of these two streets, and runs up the hill towards the Hallgrimskirkja church.

Go off the main streets to discover quirky little shops selling all manner of tempting goods.


piles of sweaters in Handknitting Association of Iceland shop on Skolavordustigur, Reykjavik, Iceland


knit Santas in Handknitting Association of Iceland shop on Skolavordustigur, Reykjavik, Iceland
Handknitting Association of Iceland  Laugavegur 53b; Skolavordustigur 19 (the main store).  This cooperative shop features traditional hand-knit Iopapeysa sweaters.  These aren’t inexpensive, generally running between $150 and $200.  I am regretting that I didn’t buy a few of the red knitted Santas. 


66° North shop in Reykjavik, Iceland
66° North  Bankastraeti 5 and 9.  Started in 1926 to make outdoor clothing to protect fishermen and other workers from Arctic weather extremes, this well-known local brand now produces edgy, fashionable clothing.  Sweet little items for children are also available.  


Tiger shop in Reykjavik, Iceland
Flying Tiger Copenhagen  Laugavegur 13; www.likealocalguide.com/reykjavik/tiger.  This bright shop is filled with mostly small, colorful Scandinavian items.  A branch is now in NYC. 

Many more shops are found in the old city center.  This one is exceptional:


exterior of Kraum Centre for Icelandic Craft in Reyjkavik, Iceland


merchandise inf Kraum Centre for Icelandic Craft in Reyjkavik, Iceland
Kraum Centre for Icelandic Craft  Adalstræti 10.  The city’s oldest wood house is now home to an intriguing collection of Icelandic pottery, jewelry, household utensils, and clothes, plus whimsy in the form of a fuzzy sheep-fleece topped stool (I so wish I had bought one!).

More things to do in Iceland.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Friday, December 12, 2014

Sights to See: Hallgrimskirkja Church; Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre; Höfði House; Reykjavik, Iceland


Three Iconic Buildings in Reykjavik, Iceland


exterior of Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik, Iceland
Hallgrimskirkja Church  101 Reykjavik.  Daily 9am-5pm, to 9pm in summer.  Free; admission fee for tower.  The tallest building in town, this architecturally interesting Lutheran church (more than 95% of Icelanders are Lutheran) can be seen from almost everywhere in town.  Its interior is stark and filled with light.  It features a sweeping two-sided staircase to heaven, or you can take an elevator.



exterior of Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre  Resembling an enormous honeycomb, sun shimmers through the unusual geometric windows.  This state-of-the-art building was completed in 2011 and is home to the Icelandic symphony and opera.  It also hosts art exhibitions, musical performances, and international conferences.  A good restaurant offers a view of the harbor’s icy blue waters. 


exterior of Höfði House in Reykjavik, Iceland
Höfði House  This famous 1909 house is where presidents Mikhail Gorbachov and Ronald Reagan met for the Reykjavik summit in 1986.

More things to do in Iceland.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Great Sleeps: Hilton Reykjavik Nordica and Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina, Reykjavik, Iceland


Hilton Reykjavik Nordica  in the financial district, 1.5 mi./5 min. to town.  Restaurant.  Breakfast included.  This hotel is just a short journey from the city center via complimentary city bus and only 5 minutes from the Laugardalur geothermal swimming pool and sports center.


guest room at Hilton Reykjavik Nordica in Reykjavik, Iceland
It has typical clean-lined Scandinavian style and is in a great location overlooking the sea and mountains surrounding Reykjavik.


view from guest room #520 at Hilton Reykjavik Nordica in Reykjavik, Iceland

Ask for an ocean-view room on right side of building. 



entrance to Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina in Reykjavik, Iceland
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina  downtown harbor district.  108 rooms.  Restaurant.  Located in the heart of town, this hotel has a quirky and colorful decor that blends modern Icelandic design with old objects salvaged from the surrounding harbor.  All furniture and fittings are custom-made in Iceland.  The bright lobby and other common areas are whimsical, but the hotel also manages to be comfortable and cozy.  Many restaurants and bars are nearby.

More things to do in Iceland.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sights to See: Reykjavik, Iceland


city view of Reykjavik, Iceland
The most northern capital in the world, Reykjavik--pronounced “Ray-kah-vik”--gets plenty of sometimes-sulphur-stinky hot water from the ground.  Though small, it is one of Europe’s party capitals and is filled with lively techno and rock bars and has plenty of cool cafes and trendy restaurants.  Crisp, clean air makes it memorable.


view of purple WOW airline offices in Reykjavik, Iceland
purple WOW airline offices
A half day on foot lets you can see the main sights downtown, which include colorful architecture and street art graffiti.  The old center is European quaint, with cobblestones and winding streets (unfortunately, a fire there in 1913 destroyed many old wood buildings).


city view of Reykjavik, Iceland
Surprisingly, Reykjavik is not only the closest European city to New York but is also generally warmer in January than New York.  Perhaps not such a surprise, since it has almost 40 publishing houses, is that it was named a UNESCO City of Literature in 2011.

More things to do in Iceland.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sights to See: Iceland


A “land of fire and ice,” Iceland was the last country in Europe to be settled--by Norwegians in the area of Reykjavik in 874 (Celtic settlers from Ireland and Scotland arrived later).  It is also officially the youngest country in the world.  The Icelandic language dates back to Vikings.  Independence from Denmark came in 1944. 


Iceland's Northeast
     Though much of its terrain is desolate and with few trees, this volcanic island is surprisingly diverse, with moss-covered lava fields, a gigantic glacier, and a few snow-covered peaks.


Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano eruption 2014
Bardarbunga volcano eruption 2014
     Iceland's many volcanoes remain very active.  Chaos ensued a few years ago when a volatile volcano literally blew its top, and the resulting air debris upset European air travel.  The notorious volcanoes are in the center of the island, basically in the middle of nowhere, and the locals are just fine with that.
     Most of the country’s 320,000 people live along the 850-mile-long Ring Road/Route 1 around the perimeter.  The interior is uninhabited, and there are no roads through it.  Reykjavik is home to 60% of the people.  Almost 95% of homes have geo-thermal power, and the many thermal pools are popular places for people to socialize. 
     Iceland elected the world’s first female president in 1980, had the first openly gay prime minister (gay marriage is allowed), and has almost 40 publishing houses.   
     My first impressions of the country were of flat land, a faint odor of sulphur, and grey skies.  That was later tempered by driving through the more mountainous terrain of the northeast and experiencing there some crisp air and blue skies.  I noticed that they drive on the right and have many sensible round-abouts.  I gathered from a cab driver that they aren’t terribly fond of Norwegians, whom he described as speaking “like they have a potato in the throat.”
     Among the many fascinating facts about Iceland is that more than 90,000 citizens of the 320,000 population own firearms, which are mostly rifles and shotguns used for hunting.  Murders average only two per year, and prison capacity is 150 prisoners.  When that limit is reached, overflow prisoners are allowed to go about their regular lives waiting for their turn for punishment. 
     And even though Iceland is at the top of the world near the Arctic Circle, winter temperatures can be warmer than New York, London, or Paris.  In summer, you can get away with wearing just a light sweater weather.  And, blessedly, there are no ticks or mosquitos. 

More things to do in Iceland. 

More information about Iceland.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular local and foreign getaways.  

images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers